Welcome to the first Advent edition of our weekly revue under the motto ‘cookies, punch & Neurofunk’. We start the pre-Christmas distribution of presents for ears and underbelly with two remixes of Optiv’s Krakpot, which was initially issued in the year of the Lord 2009 by Close 2 Death (during Advent Close 2 Birth) and is now revisited by Jade and Billain. Especially the former’s interpretation is somewhat of a masterclass in diamond-forging, for in terms of heat, pressure and consistency Jade’s work is outstanding. Besides he seems to have found the bass line that presumably Optiv was looking for in the original, and all that results in one of the best and enthralling tracks I have ever come across from the Budapest based producer. Yet where’s light there’s shadow, and thus Billain’s remix appears rather muffled in the bright blaze of Jade’s jewel. But take a closer listen and you will quickly be absorbed by the detailed and sophisticated composition that with its balanced blend of complexity and madness forms an acoustic tableau you’ll want to experience over and over again.
Optiv – Krakpot (Jade Remix, Billain Remix, Close 2 Death Recordings) – https://soundcloud.com/jadednb/optiv-krakpot-jade-remix, https://soundcloud.com/billain/optiv-krakpot-billain-remix
Optiv – Krakpot (Close 2 Death Recordings) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9Pq9e1zSBM
Already last week my Ukrainian hero Fade released his debut single on his own label Faded Music, but just now I could get a hold of the two tracks – so let’s hope that our fast moving time is still slow enough to cope with this delay. But even though the tunes don’t sound antiquated some 8 days after their release, maybe it should be mentioned that they don’t exactly sound like today either. Instead, Fade gathers whatever he sees fit for his musical ideas, and consequently the a-side Raw Deal adds up to a deep and groovy, sometimes a little unbalanced potpourri of wandering creak-bass upon wafting subbass and Fade’s typical crisp percussion. The flip Face Off is tense whole-body oscillation that melodically draws on Blues and rhythmically on eight notes. Both share the individual and uncompromising approach unique to the sound sculptor from Kiev – an approach of course, where means of today and tomorrow are but secondary.
Fade – Raw Deal / Face Off (Faded Music) – https://soundcloud.com/fadedmusic-1/fade-raw-deal-faded-music-001, https://soundcloud.com/fadedmusic-1/fade-face-off-faded-music-001
Some will remember Fearful for their Tampered Cipher EP that was featured here in October; now the Brighton based duo is back with another two examples of their Lord-Byron-meets-Terminator-aesthetic. Enriched with a trace of thoughtful melancholy, the thick Santura oscillates between roaring squeeze-basses and philosophical pads, and hence provides its listener with the possibility of rumination on the evanescence of all earthen existence amidst the billows of a rave without ever losing rhythm or style. The subsequent Gorilla is somewhat of an antithesis to this pensive thought-dance; and outlines an attempt at a solution of crisp breaks and fluffy bass. But one needs not be a philosopher to appreciate this single – an open ear and a little weltschmerz are quite sufficient.
Fearful – Santura / Gorilla (Automate Recordings) – https://soundcloud.com/automate-dnb/sets/am8t002
Despite all efforts there is no way of telling how all the creationists actually respond to Shogun Audio’s Evolution Series; however, the EP series enters its fourth round and unites four tracks by seven artists beneath the colourful banner of metropolis. The beginning is up to Optiv & BTK, who -aided by the vocal skills of Sam Wills- put together Understand, an at the first moment incredibly captivating tune. Yet at second glance one cannot help but wonder: wonder how Optiv & BTK can still go with that same old worn out unchanged break; wonder why they implemented the abrupt and brute (-not to mention means of taste-) bass drum-roll altogether four times in the song; and wonder how long it takes one to actually see behind the enjoyable trance-pad and Sam Wills’ increasingly redundant ‘Do you understand?’ question and discover little but the weak structure of this overall powerful but sadly disoriented track. Evolution-regular The Prototypes too contribute a piece of music that’s not particularly pinpointing one direction. However, Blackout is still an interesting track with its mixture of old German Neurofunk and contemporary overload psychosis, and due to its reminiscences of Block Control it’s kind of hard not to drown the necessary critical distance in waves of sympathy. The peak of this evolution in my ears is Icicle’s Timer, a marvellously cranky and -in the best sense- reckless journey though times and spaces, replete with surprise and celestial groove factor. Finally, Technimatics’ harmony bath Solace proves that every natural development has its by-products. But if one doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, there’s no need to bother here.
Optiv, BTK, Sam Wills, The Prototypes, ID, Icicle, Technimatic – Shogun Audio Evolution EP Series 4 (Shogun Audio) – https://soundcloud.com/optiv/optiv-btk-understand-feat-sam, https://soundcloud.com/theprototypes/the-prototypes-2, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OO69NHAcga4, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lpx88ScbNxc
Noisia – Block Control (Moving Shadow, 2005) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gv6KHImHXIE
For devotees of techy storytelling, our concluding item should be great news: Ruffhouse are back with their third single, and once more that signifies two small revelations – given the disposition to embark on the epics of the trio, for as so often with good music, opinions differ between mesmerized voyage though microscopic modifications and macroscopic galaxies, and the dull ennui of the numb. Fortunately, Ruffhouse don’t seem to bother about the accessibility of their opera, and with Demand and Division III offer two further dives into the dark depths of their sonic scapes. Time is the essence of their techno heavy and yet organic sound beings that always seem to follow their inherent logic and progress alone: thus it takes Demand for instance almost four minutes to peak – but one really couldn’t discount the time before as intro. The perpetual build-up and reverberation orgy Division III doesn’t even peak at all (in a classic peaky way), to such an extent are the various vibrant elements interleaved. The hallmark naturally remains the fundament, and if the billowing warehouse-bleeps and seemingly endless reverb tails go to your head, one can always rely on the relentless rhythmic pounding of the bass drum. It is, however, more advisable to just let go and trust Ruffhouse, for it is only then that one can really embark on their journey. And what a journey it is…
Ruffhouse – Demand / Division III (Ingredients Records) – https://soundcloud.com/ruffhouse-1/ruffhouse-demand-ingredients, https://soundcloud.com/ruffhouse-1/ruffhouse-division-iii
Adventus bassi: http://www.facebook.com/Subsphere